Tuesday, March 14, 2006

AMR will be more useful if we recommend papers from all sources

From time to time, the contributors of Applied Mechanics Research and Researchers (AMR) recommend papers that people in our community may appreciate. So far most recommended papers are those recently published in popular journals (e.g., Science, Nature, PRL and PNAS), or prominent journals in our own field (e.g., MRS Bulletin and JMPS). I believe that AMR will lose much of its utility if we keep recommending papers from well-known sources. These papers need little recommendation, and by doing so we do not provide much value to our community. How about a remarkable preprint, or a paper published in a less known journal, or an obscure old paper that deserves our attention now?

I believe that another practice has restricted the utility of AMR. To avoid self-promotion, initial contributors of AMR agreed that we would not post any entries of our own work. Now this unwritten rule has turned into a practice. Perhaps we should reexamine this rule for a very simple fact: most researchers are at their best when articulating their own work. Furthermore, it has been a long tradition in our field to place our own work in the context of works of others.

How about we simply let our contributors recommend any paper, regardless of its source, so long as the paper is remarkable and is of interest to the community of Applied Mechanics? I believe that our contributors, when posting an entry of their own work, will go out of their way to credit other people.

That’s the thought of the day. Please feel free to leave your comments below.


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